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Cougars pin down Team Duals berth

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Cougars pin down Team Duals berth

Weston Ranch’s Brandon Mungaro finished the job with a pin Wednesday in the Cougars VOL matchup with Kimball High.

JAGADA CHAMBERS/The Bulletin


POSTED January 31, 2013 12:12 a.m.

Continuing a season as an individual in the postseason is one thing. Accomplishing the very same feat as a team is something completely different. Nabbing one of two Valley Oak League team berths for the Sac Joaquin Section was extremely important to the Weston Ranch Cougars Wednesday, and it showed.

Weston Ranch edged out Kimball High for the final VOL spot, beating the Jaguars 43-30 in the teams’ dual match at Manteca High. The two teams went back-and-forth in the deciding match, until the Cougars were able to pull away with an impressive five pins in the final seven matches.

“We definitely weren’t expecting that,” Cougars assistant coach Seth Davis said of the spurt of pins. “We expected each one of them to be super-tight because we lost some matches on the heavier end and then we battled back at the end.

“We got a huge pin at 145s and that match just sparked all of our guys.”

Richard Navaratte earned the pivotal victory for the Cougars, getting a much-needed pin with Weston Ranch trailing 27-25. Navaratte’s pin put Weston Ranch up 31-27, and the Cougars wouldn’t trail in the match again.

Weston Ranch continued off its postseason berth clinching win with a 73-0 shutout against Manteca High. The Buffaloes also dropped their match against Kimball, falling 54-24.

The Cougars needed a total team effort to fight off a Jaguars program that has two of the best wrestlers in the state. Weston Ranch got a surprising win from Yates Hunter, who rebounded from a 16-12 loss to the Kimball 195-pounder earlier in the season. Brandon Mungaro (132-pound) likely made the most significant impact, cutting weight all weak to fill a hole in a lighter weight class.

“Mungaro is one of our team captains and he’s been wrestling 138-140s all year,” Davis said. “He cut to wrestle 132 just for this match. He did that just for this dual to get us in the section finals.

“A lot of things can happen so we just wanted to try and get in.”

Mungaro was in complete control of his match, posting a 5-0 lead before ending the match with a second round pin.

“Weston Ranch has only missed team sections like once,” Mungaro said. “So team sections has always been important to us. They came up to me and asked me, they didn’t tell me they just asked me, if I could do it and I said yeah.

“That was my motivation for the entire week, to cut down and give our team a chance.”

The Cougars got pins down the stretch from Brenden Cutright (126-pound), Mungaro, Navaratte, James Simerely (160-pound) and Eddie Melero (170-pound)

The team duals are set for Saturday at Lincoln High in Stockton. Weigh-ins are schedule for 8:15 a.m., while first round action is scheduled to get underway at 10:30 a.m.

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